The funeral is over and he is laid to rest in Aldeburgh, not far from Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Imogen Holst. The last few days have been a wonderful celebration of the life of John Amis, due to the love and support of his many friends the services were very special and … unforgettable.
Thank you so much to you all for the touching messages of love and support. John was a remarkable man, an irreplaceable man who I will never forget. I was blessed to have eight happy years with him. Over the coming months the Trust will celebrate his life with the John Amis – A Concert in Celebration and the Tait Winter Prom on November 26th and a new award, the John Amis Award., more below.
The funeral for John was held at St Sepulchre-without-Newgate in London on Tuesday 20th August led by John’s old friend, The Reverend John Wates. A witty eulogy from John’s long time friend, and former BBC colleague, Humphrey Burton and memories from another dear friend, Michael Rose were a welcome respite from the grief most of us have been experiencing these past few weeks.
Joanna McCallum; daughter of founding Tait Trust Patrons, Googie Withers and John McCallum, and now a member of the TMT committee, read:
Reading – Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
Dame Felicity Lott sang a song which was very dear to John, ‘Beim Schlafengehen‘, one of Strauss’ four last songs, accompanied beautifully by Graham Johnson. This was a particularly poignant moment as Dame Felicity visited John near to his death and sang some songs quietly into his ear. Her singing of the Strauss was an unforgettable moment in the service. If John was writing this I am sure he would find a way to better express the joy that she shared with the congregation and most especially to John’s partner, Isla Baring.
A lovely recording of John singing, Bilbo’s Song by Donald Swann, was played with his dear friend, Donald Swann singing in harmony and accompanying and a hauntingly beautiful 1927 recording of, The Power of Love by Percy Grainger with the pure tones of Anita Atwater, soprano and Percy Grainger accompanying on the harmonium and Ralph Leopold piano.
The service ended with Steal Away, the famous Negro spiritual arranged by Michael Tippett from ‘A Child Of Our Time’ sung beautifully by, The Choir of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate led by Andrew Earis, Director of Music .
On Wednesday at St Peter and St Paul Church, Aldeburgh a short service was held with a reflection on John’s life by conductor, Steuart Bedford and Humphrey Burton again provided the Eulogy before the committal. This service was marked by the recordings of John whistling and being back in his spiritual home the service had an added colour.
To read the order of service of John’s funeral please download it here
John Amis Memorial Concert, October 8th 2013, St Paul’s Knightsbridge
We all hope you can come to the Memorial Concert on 8th October at St Paul’s Knightsbridge. The concert is being developed with the assistance of Michael Rose and will be a fitting celebration of his life and work. Please watch this space. Artists and the concert repertoire is being confirmed and the theme will most definitely be as broad as the tastes for which John Amis was justly famous. Flanders and Swann to Mahler, Percy Grainger, Wagner and of course Britten and Tippett….plus?
John Amis Award
As we look back at John Amis’ funeral on Tuesday 20th August the idea of a legacy, a tangible way to remember John, has been at the forefront of our thoughts. He was a man of rare talent, and was an inspiration to so many and his life deserves to be fully celebrated.
For the last six years of his life John was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust, arranging many successful and popular events and working tirelessly to further the Trust’s work. In recognition of his substantial contribution, Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Trust, wishes to create an Award in his honour to be called the John Amis Award.
We have created a JustGiving page in the name of John Amis which is attached to the main TMT JustGiving page. Any money donated via John’s page will go directly to fund this new award. We are delighted to report that the fund has got off to a good start with the generous donations made at John’s funeral and at his committal in Aldeburgh.
Save the Date – Tait Winter Prom 2013
We look forward to hearing Dame Gillian Weir, Primavera Shima, Travis Baker and the lovely Valda Wilson again at the 2013 Winter Prom at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, Chelsea 26 November 2013.
This concert was completely arranged by John Amis. The notes, the artists and the concept was all John’s work. It will be dedicated to his memory.
Below are some photos of John Amis from 2013
Tait Memorial Trust website
©2013 Tait Memorial Trust • Registered charity 1042797
- John Amis – Critic, Broadcaster and Patron of the TMT (taitmemorialtrust.wordpress.com)
- John Amis: Music critic and broadcaster who graced radio’s ‘My Music’ for two decades (independent.co.uk)
- A Farewell to John Amis (taitmemorialtrust.wordpress.com)
- John Amis (telegraph.co.uk)
- John Preston Amis ( 17 June 1922 – 1 August 2013 ) (taitmemorialtrust.wordpress.com)
- Genial John has died and, with him, a gentle era (artsjournal.com)
- John Amis obituary (theguardian.com)
- Jayson Gillham to play for Tait Performing Arts Association (taitmemorialtrust.wordpress.com)